Court Report

Translated by Samoa News staff

14 TAKEN INTO POLICE CUSTODY OVER THE WEEKEND

It was a busy weekend for police responding to calls for assistance.

Fourteen people were taken into custody and held at the Territorial Correctional Facility over the weekend. They appeared yesterday morning for their initial appearances before District Court Judge ProTem Gwen Tauiliili-Langkilde.

The courtroom was crowded with family members.

Some of the arrestees were released on their own recognizance, while others had to post bail. Of the 14 taken into custody, 10 were charged with various misdemeanor charges including public peace disturbance, and causing trouble in a family. There were two suspects arrested for allegedly assaulting their wives and two others arrested for violating conditions of their probation.

The highest number of arrestees from one incident was five, following a report called into the Leone Police Substation around 9p.m. last Friday from Seetaga village, where a home was stoned by a large number of unknown people. According to court information, the Leone substation received at least four separate calls for help, including a call from the homeowner.

The defendants in this case were charged with various misdemeanor crimes, including public peace disturbance, trespassing, and property damage. They will appear early next month for their next court hearing, and all were given conditions of release — such as no contact with any government witnesses in this case.

According to court information, the homeowner told police that he and his wife had just finished with evening prayer when they heard the sound of shattering glass coming from the kitchen. They then noticed that their house was being stoned, with several more rocks hitting the house and landing within the vicinity.

While exiting the house, the homeowner was injured after a beer bottle that landed on the outside staircase of the house shattered and a piece of glass nicked his forearm.

Based on available court information, it appears that there were several people involved in a fight against two brothers, who were taken to the hospital for medical assistance, after suffering minor injuries. The brothers — Siaosi and Lolesio Mikaele — were among the five charged in this case.

It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the fight or the stoning of the house, but it appears there was some sort of dispute in the neighborhood.

BRIAN BENJAMIN LOMA

The High Court is holding a status hearing this Friday on the government’s case against Brian Benjamin Loma, who is charged with drug possession following an incident in October 2015 when he was found with marijuana by customs agents at the airport, upon arrival on a Hawaiian Airlines flight from Honolulu.

Loma, who at the time resided on the US mainland, was visiting relatives in the territory and has been unable to return to the US due to his felony case still pending in local court.

At this Friday’s hearing, the court is expected to hear a motion from the government to dismiss the felony charge against the defendant, who has been out on bail while his case goes through the judicial process.

Noted is that his previous private attorney Mark Ude has left the territory and is not expected to return. When Loma was in court late last month for a status hearing, Chief Justice Michael Kruse continued the hearing, giving the defendant and the government time to hold discussions on the case. The Court recommended that the defendant obtain legal representation unless Loma still wants to represent himself going forward.

Loma said he can no longer afford another private attorney because he has no job to get money to pay for his legal representation. The court suggested the defendant use the services of the Public Defender’s Office, which initially represented Loma.

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